As a child being different really wasn’t an issue, at least not at home. Unfortunately, it was a problem at school. I was 10 years old and still talking to my imaginary friends among other things. I guess I made some of my teachers uncomfortable. The school insisted that I see a child psychologist.
That was a very bad experience for me. My parents had to fight the school to keep me from being put on serious drugs. My family doctor even stepped in to point out that I was far too sensitive for any sort of medication and it would be dangerous to treat any child in such a manner. It was all my family could do just to keep the school from insisting on a medical solution to my situation. The weekly counseling sessions and barrage of testing finally stopped around the age of 12 when I was old enough to pretend to be normal. They never did find any learning disabilities or anything "wrong" with me. I ended up becoming very distrustful of adults as a result and was a bit of a wild teenager. Strangely enough, being a wild kid is considered normal. Having imaginary friends that nag you to do your homework and tell you not to get into a car full of drunken teenagers is not normal. Go figure.
By my late teens I had started to outgrow my imaginary friends. I suspect that had something to do with them being a bit of a buzz kill when I wanted to have fun, and let’s face it, living boys are much more interesting than dead people when you are a teenage girl. Interestingly enough, the one thing that really became much more evident in my teens was that I was seeing colors around people. I occasionally had other sorts of experiences. There were a few crisis apparitions and things of that nature. But in the grand scheme of things I didn’t worry too much about such things. I went to university, got married and got on with life.
Things changed rather abruptly for me in 1993. I was involved in a head-on collision at highway speeds with a very large truck while driving a rather modest car. The original prognosis was pretty bleak; I was not expected to survive the accident. Depending on how you look at it, I didn’t survive it. I died and managed to come back. Seventeen years ago, I had a near death experience (NDE). During my experience I was able to see my deceased grandmother. She kept telling me I’d be OK.
My attempts to explain what I had experienced to my doctors when I woke up in the hospital went pretty much ignored. Even the psychologist who had been sent to talk to me about how serious my injuries were was very dismissive at first. I tried to tell him that I knew I'd be OK because my Grandma had told me so. (Grandma was right.) I guess he was expecting me to be emotionally devastated because I was a young, physically active woman who woke up in the hospital in rough shape. My face was badly cut up and I can't remember any part of me not being cut or bruised. I kept telling him I'd be fine. After a few visits he finally agreed with me.
I wasn’t really the same person after the accident. I couldn’t learn enough. I was so curious about everything. I started talking about going back to school, causing my then husband to think I had really lost my mind. Before the accident, I had obtained a degree in Fine Arts and had been painting landscapes for a living, supplementing my income as a reservist teaching drumming to some of the local regimental pipe bands. I was a reasonable successful artist/musician, not someone who should have thinking about going back to school to get a science degree. I was also in need of some serious medical rehabilitation after the accident, and in spite of that I was making all sorts of big plans that made no sense to my husband. He was totally convinced his wife had been killed in the accident and that I was some kind of changeling. He never forgave me for not being her.
The anomalous experiences became more noticeable after the accident. There were ghosts. The lights around people became more meaningful somehow. I found it difficult to be in crowds because I just picked up too much information and became uncomfortable. We had more electrical problems in our home than are probably typical. I talked to my regimental chaplain about these things and he didn’t see anything wrong with my experiences. But he did tell me to be careful about whom I trusted with such information.
About two years after the car accident my marriage ended rather badly. My husband actually tried to harm me at one point. I did see a counselor while going through the divorce, and he was OK with my odd experiences. My regimental chaplain had recommended this particular counselor. The ending of my marriage was a very traumatic event and because of it I somehow managed to shut down my experiences for a number of years. I couldn’t totally get rid of them. I still saw lights around people, but I didn’t really acknowledge the meaning of such colors. Only a few ghosts managed to get my attention, and it was easy enough to attribute such things to dreams or imagination.
I did go back to university to obtain a BSc, an MSc, and now I’m working on a PhD. I got married a second time and started living a normal life again. For whatever reason, once I felt secure and happy again, my ghosts came back.
This time it wasn’t enough to have a counselor tell me I was OK. I went looking for answers about what was going on. I was fortunate enough to find a philosophy professor through the internet with an academic interest in NDEs. When I finally felt comfortable enough to trust this person, I confided in him that I was an NDEr and attempted to describe the experience to him. After that I started to ask him about other things I was seeing that didn’t make sense to me. He ended up helping me contact a friend of his who was a parapsychologist.
One of the first things the parapsychologist did was to send me articles on mediumship. I had no idea that some people see things that others don’t. I thought I must be crazy if other people didn’t experience the same things that I did. The next thing he did was to put me in contact with a psychic/medium. Not only was it a relief to talk to someone who had had similar experiences, it was helpful to be told how to protect myself from what is basically “too much information”.
I did eventually seek out counseling again, mainly because of the impact my experiences are having on my current marriage. About a year ago, I was so desperate to be “cured” that I tried to book an appointment through my university's health services in the hopes of obtaining a medical solution to my situation. For whatever reason, I could never get them on the phone and my messages went unanswered. I ended up contacting the university chaplain knowing that he could refer me and help set up such an appointment. He actually refused to send me to anyone who might go along with my plan to drug the ghosts away. I ended up going to him for counseling until his retirement last summer.
When my counselor retired from his post as chaplain, he was very concerned that my case just was not referable to anyone else. He was worried that I still might go looking for a medical solution for my problems. The chaplain that was replacing him was an old friend of his, but he had no idea if the new guy could be trusted with someone like me. So he suggested that I meet the new guy at a retirement party and read his aura. At one of our final sessions, I reported back to my counselor on what information I had gotten from doing such a reading. He knew the new chaplain fairly well, so he had some idea if what I picked up on was good information. As it turned out, I had the guy pretty well pegged and I was convinced that the new chaplain would be OK to talk to about my ghosts.
The new chaplain was not only OK with my ghosts, it turned out that he grew up with a psychic sibling who has gone through many of the same issues that I have. One very nice thing that has resulted from all of this is that both chaplains now know that they can talk to each other about such things. They were good friends, but they would have never felt free to talk about things like ghosts and auras before. Now they do because they have discussed my case (with my permission).
I would have to say that my experiences with counselors as an adult have been fairly positive. My childhood experience was anything but. I don’t know if that reflects a change in the general attitudes of such professionals, or whether it has more to do with the fact that I chose my own counselors as an adult.
I have been very impressed with the parapsychologists and researchers that I’ve had dealings with. The emphasis has been on answering my questions, not just getting information from me. The generosity in regards to time and resources has really touched and amazed me. It could just be that I’ve been very lucky to find the right people when I’ve needed them. I would certainly suggest that anyone wanting to contact a parapsychologist should first look into what kind of background and training that person has given the fact that there are no required professional accreditations for such people. The individual that I first dealt with has a MS in Parapsychology from a well respected university and is a member of the Parapsychological Association."